Defence wraps up argument in Calgary psychiatrist sex assault trial
By Bill Graveland
January 21, 2013
Dr. Aubrey Levin, 74, is charged with assaulting nine of his patients.
The allegations came to light in 2010 after one of the patients came forward with secret videos he recorded during court-ordered sessions with the psychiatrist. The videos, played in court last fall, show Levin undoing the man’s belt and jeans and appearing to fondle him.
Lawyer Chris Archer said the witness is a petty criminal who was setting up Levin to pursue a lawsuit. He said what happened was consensual.
“The clear inference here is this is a scam and he’s just trying to frame someone,” Archer told the jury of seven men and four women.
“The plan was to set him up … by complaining about a sexual assault,” he said. “It was a ruse on his part.”
Archer said other patients “jumped on the bandwagon” after the first charge was laid.
The patient, identified only as R.B. in court, was on probation at the time the videos were taken and had been ordered by a court to see Levin twice a month.
The man said he had told authorities about previous assaults and no one believed him, so he bought a spy camera and brought it to his appointments. After Levin was arrested, other former patients came forward with abuse allegations.
Archer said the Crown witness was motivated by greed and has launched a $4.5-million-dollar lawsuit against his client.
“He is a petty criminal and, I would submit, a liar. Is he motivated by money?” Archer asked.
“I would say he has 4.5 million reasons to lie to you. He comes across as a scheming, greedy, manipulative person. That’s what he is. He is a blackmailer – he is off the scale.”
Archer disputed the evidence of the other eight complainants, suggesting they were working in collusion. He said the other clients lied as well or did it “for the money” or were “screaming out for attention.”
Archer also noted that those alleging they were sexually assaulted were capable of refusing to participate in the examinations.
Levin, who immigrated to Canada from South Africa, was frequently used by the courts to assess people and provide expert opinions at hearings. Most of his alleged victims had been ordered by a judge to see him.
Levin served briefly as regional director for the federal Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon and was licensed in 1998 to practise psychiatry in Alberta.
The only time the jury has heard Levin speak was in his videotaped statement to police after his arrest. The psychiatrist said he was performing medical procedures on patients to help them with sexual dysfunctions.
Another doctor testified, however, that what Levin was doing was not an accepted medical technique.
“The Crown needs to prove these charges without a reasonable doubt,” said Archer.
“The defence is giving you reasons why you should acquit Dr. Levin on every count.”
Crown prosecutors Bill Wister and Dallas Sopko are to make their final arguments in the case Tuesday. Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donna Shelley is to give her final instructions to the jury Friday.
The trial has been fraught with delays.
A hearing was held before the trial began last fall to determine if Levin was mentally competent to stand trial.
Levin fired his original defence team in early November and then briefly represented himself before finally hiring Archer as his lawyer.
The delays raised the spectre of a mistrial over concerns that the jurors wouldn’t be able to continue sitting months past the originally scheduled end date.